Women's Center against domestic violence

Types of Abuse

Abuse can take many forms and involve much more than just physical violence, making the task of identifying and stopping it that much harder. Some types of abuse are more subtle and less obvious, which can cause them to continue for years unnoticed by others.

As one of the nation’s first dedicated women’s shelters and advocates for victims of domestic violence, we know that the best way to fight back against abuse is through open discussions and clear education on the matter. Familiarize yourself with these common types of domestic abuse so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.


Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is among the most common forms of abuse, as well as one of the most dangerous. It consists of literal acts of violence taken against the victim and affects an estimated 25% of women in the country.


Verbal Abuse

Identifying verbal abuse is challenging for some due to the seemingly benign nature of some comments. However, there is a clear line between harmless banter and harmful language meant to demean, degrade or control someone.


Psychological Abuse

Identifying signs of psychological abuse is a delicate manner, as this type of abuse deals with harming a victim’s mental state through both verbal and physical actions. The end result causes the victim to look at their world differently, and can make it incredibly difficult to even acknowledge that the abuse is taking place.


Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can affect both women and men, regardless of age or sexual orientation, and in some cases may also involve children. It may not always involve the act of sexual intercourse, but does involve actions and situations of a sexual nature.


Economic Abuse

Though it may never include any direct actions towards a victim, economic abuse is among the most effective forms of control an abuser may use. This type of abuse focuses on removing the victim’s financial independence or ability to earn a separate income.


Academic Abuse

As knowledge is one of the greatest assets anyone can possess, and one of the most important keys to independence and freedom, many abusers use academic abuse to prevent any form of educational growth.


Technological Abuse

Technological abuse is a growing threat that is more dangerous now than ever, thanks to the advent of social networking websites, email and smartphones. This type of abuse can involve direct control over your actions and life choices, or be used as a form of cyberstalking to monitor your behavior.


If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the types of abuse listed above, please call our free and confidential Hotline at 412-687-8005 ext. 1, or toll free at 877-338-TALK (8255). Our expert staff of trained professionals is here to offer help or more information about domestic abuse and intimate partner violence.